By Jared Stanger
Welcome to the unofficial start of Draft Season! Time for a little post-season/pre-combine Seahawk 7-round mock draft. Speed-round edition.
I think the right number of picks for Seattle to try to hit this draft is eight. Assuming the addition of two compensatory picks, they only really need one trade-back, but for sake of some spacing issues I’m speculating two trades, 9 picks.
I liked the look of the Panthers’ draft positions, so I ran the math through the Jimmy Johnson trade chart and came up with: Seattle’s #26 + #90 for Carolina’s #40 + #72 + #99 (Seattle technically loses the trade by 6pts. Whatev.). That would put Seattle drafting #40, #58, #72, #99, and #105 all on the second day of the draft.
I like having five picks on day 2, but I don’t really like the drop from the end of the 3rd round until Seattle’s first pick on day three (#185…at the END of the 5th round). I’d like to swap back #72 to the Colts’ slot at #79, and add their 4th round comp pick #143. A VERY even trade per the chart (230 pts to 229.5 pts).
Positioning Seattle at: 40, 58, 79, 99, 105, 143, 185, 211, 247.
#40 – Kevin King, CB, Washington
Realistically, the OL you need won’t be there. I had talked on Twitter recently about targeting Haason Reddick in the 1st as SAM could be a pretty big need, but I’m already starting to see Reddick gone before #26. I think the WR near #40 would fit value-wise, but I’m not sure they fit need-wise. If you’re into splitting hairs, you can get a different corner that you have higher on your board at #26, but with Seattle’s preference for looking for value at CB, a 2nd round Corner is already breaking from tradition on the aggressive side. This feels more plausible to me, I guess.
There are a lot of places that have King available at Seattle’s native 2nd round pick at #58, but I just have a feeling that will change after his combine. So let’s get out ahead of the buzz and lock down a player capable of playing boundary CB, slot CB, AND safety…all positions with health and/or talent question marks heading into 2017 season.
King is terrific in run support, can shut down the red line like all the best Seahawk corners, and will be a fantastic student under Sherm.
#58 – Ethan Pocic, OL, LSU
This is sort of my cynical take on free agency (non) moves response of a pick. I think the BEST move is to be a little aggressive in FA for OL, but I’m cynical that Pete and John will do it. Or maybe it’s the OL themselves that don’t want to come here. With Russell’s ties to Ricky Wagner at Wisconsin, my fingers are crossed that I will be wrong about this.
Pocic represents a lot of things, but the big one is that he’s kind of Justin Britt in a lot of ways (including probably being the best OL you can get in the 2nd round before a steep dropoff). Position-wise; Pocic is Britt in reverse. Britt started at RT, then LG, then OC. Pocic is a college OC, who played LG at the Senior Bowl, but that might be a pro RT (if his reported arm length improves at the combine).
Seattle will often draft a player a year ahead of when the current guy will be hitting free agency (Glow for Sweezy, Vannett for Willson, etc). We THINK Britt will get an extension, but there’s really no precedent for it yet. With all of these things in mind…Pocic.
Pencil him in at RT with Garry getting the shot at LT, while slowing down the development of Fant.
#79 – John Johnson, DB, Boston College
Probably a pretty big surprise. I think Seattle has been a little passive in the secondary, but it needs bold moves to reload the LOB. This is a great year to do it. KK and JJ mark the beginning of a new reLegion.
Johnson is a guy that is most recently a Safety, spent a few games at CB in 2015, and should be a special teams starter from day one. He’ll be a lot like a smaller version of Shead. I think his combine will be nice so I’m, again, trying to get ahead of that buzz with this aggressive positioning.
King represents the player I think we missed on in Justin Simmons last year, while Johnson represents an Eric Rowe or Sean Davis.
#99 – Joe Mathis, DE, Washington
Mathis is a very tough guy to place. He put out some of the best DE tape in the country…for like six games. Then the injury and surgeries…which make his ability to compete at the combine a HUGE question mark. PFF love him, many on draft twitter love him, but he’s still only pulling a #223 overall from draftscout and I don’t think the big, national writers are caught on yet. (I dread when that tweet crosses my TL.)
I’m putting Mathis here as a late-3rd, but I could see him anywhere from 2nd to 6th. With his recent injuries, I’m projecting Joe to have a rookie year path similar to Odhiambo: 53-man redshirt with mostly inactives, and then he’ll step up into most of Cassius’ reps in 2nd year.
#105 – Cole Hikutini, TE, Louisville
If I’m being honest, this spot should probably go to a RB. Probably the best-remaining from a group of something like: Wayne Gallman, Kareem Hunt, D’Onta Foreman. But in my own little world of hypothetical, I will go with a TE.
If the team carries four TE again, this pick can be a receiving TE like Jordan Leggett (with Vannett and a re-upped Brandon Williams to block). If Williams isn’t back, they could go with someone like Mike Roberts. Or they could go with Cole Hikutini, who I think is pretty solid at both.
I’ll feel more comfortable with which direction to point this pick after the combine, but in the meantime, let’s split the difference with Hikutini.
#143 – Jimmie Gilbert, OLB, Colorado
Jimmie is sort of the fulcrum upon which this draft pivots. If he doesn’t get to the combine at at least 230 lbs, and you don’t think he can eventually carry 235-240, you probably need to find a different guy earlier on.
I’m picking him because I believe in his traits, and I’ll trust in a pro nutritionist and strength coach to make me look brilliant. He already does things at 223 that don’t really make sense.
#185 – Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP
With a trio of RB’s from the last two draft classes under club control for another 2-3 years, RB isn’t a terribly high “need”. But with such a deep class, it makes sense to at least take a flyer somewhere.
Jones is a guy that I think gets undervalued due to LOC, but whose tape I think is everything I look for in a RB. He’s tough, he’s fast, he can catch, and he runs with a sort of hungry desperation that tells me he will fit in the Seattle RB room and the tradition of Marshawn and Thomas.
Look for Jones to come in at 5’10″/210 lbs at the combine, and run under a 4.50 forty. Good specs to go with his impressive national production: 2nd in explosive runs, 1st in runs over 40 yards, 3rd in rushing yards per game.
#211 – Xavier Woods, SS, LaTech
We haven’t touched on WR, but it’s my sense of this class that if you haven’t found one in the top 100 picks, you might as well wait for UDFA.
Instead I will look to fill the potential void that will be left by unrestricted free agents Kelcie McCray, Jeron Johnson, and RFA Dewey McDonald.
Xavier can play either safety spot, runs well, hits hard, and can play special teams.
#247 – Algernon Brown, FB, BYU
Marcel Reece and Will Tukuafu are both over 31 years old and UFA, while Brandon Cottom is coming off an achilles injury. We’ve seen Seattle take a chance on a 7th round fullback before, so this isn’t unrealistic.
Algie is my favorite FB this year. 6’1″/250 lbs with good hands and experience as a lead back. Really fluid mover for that size.